Monday, July 20, 2009

Easy Peasy Confetti Art

Photo: Silent Sentinels by Noriko Endo

--By Dawn Goldsmith

Virginia Spiegel inspired me to use the itty bitty pieces of fabric that I would normally discard. Her blog on this subject reads like poetry. Beautifully written.

The idea is to save all of your scraps -- fabric, thread, whatever. Virginia tosses them into big multi-gallon containers. She calls these leftovers: schnibbles (love that word). She said she picked up the term from the Quilting Arts group.

Recently she pulled out those overflowing containers, filled with snippets of her hand painted or hand dyed fabrics. She sorted through them separating by color and texture and need, then incorporated some of them into art quilts. Her technique requires no organza.
"I just sew and sew. I have used a layer of MistyFuse and then a vintage poly scarf when I'm working with mini/mini/mini pieces, but that is a whole different look than what I am currently doing," Virginia explained.
She generously lent me a couple photos from her blog that captures unused schnibbles in their natural habitat and schnibbles in captivity under the needle on the front of her imaginative and colorful art quilt .

Confetti techniques really reflect the artist and can look startlingly different.

For example, Japanese fabric artist Noriko Endo advocates confetti art but strives for a more impressionist look with the project she chose for an HGTV broadcast. At their website she provides a step by step approach . Her autumn trees quilt in the photo below has a Van-Gogh colors meets Monet's dots kind of quality to it.

She lays all of the pieces out, covers them with organza then stitches across heavily to hold everything in place. The first thought I had when seeing this approach was, "Don't sneeze!"

I can see one ill-placed sneeze deforesting a whole woodland scene.

This technique was made for thread painting as demonstrated by this quilt of an old gnarled, wind carved "Canyon Tree," by Jennifer. She made this particular quilt in a class with Noriko.

And, the confetti technique can take on as many shapes and styles as the artist can imagine. Compare Noriko's naturescape used on HGTV and the first photo of the blog. Her inspiring quilt Silent Sentinels pictured above and at SAQA's site. Silent Sentinels shows a much different woodland view. It feels like a cathedral and reminds me of a favorite old song:

"I know a green cathedral,
a hallowed forest shrine.
Where leaves in love join hands above
to arch your prayers and mine."

Another way to make confetti cloth involves "schnibbles" adhered to dissolvable stabilizer. More often threads and yarns make up most of the schnibbles. This tends to make a more loosely woven finished product. Once again it is closely stitched. This holds the pieces in place once the stabilizer dissolves. Here are step by step directions. Don't confuse confetti art with confetti fabric designs by RJR Fabrics. Or with Confetti Quilts which offers a host of more traditional patterns.
On a personal level, using up all of those snips and castoffs gives me a sense of 'doing the right thing.' I can recycle, reuse and create. When given the option, gee, do I want to adhere them to a wall hanging or do I want to throw them into a landfill? Seems like an easy choice and a fun project. The only downside is convincing my husband that all of those bits of fabric, thread and yarns that I am hoarding will eventually get used and not just take up more space in his sacred garage. So I suppose the first step in confetti art is to DO IT!


margaret said...

Fine net - the kind you can get on rolls at party shops - can be used instead of organza.

Dawn said...

Thanks Margaret. Great suggestion. Is finer better or is there value to using the coarser nettings that at one time we made scratchers out of for dishwashing? Or does it matter?


Karen said...

Looks just like a painting. That would be fun to try.